Instagram Adds In-app Checkout Feature for Shopping Purchases

Apps and Software

Social Media company Instagram added a new feature allowing its users to order and buy their things online without leaving Instagram's site / Photo by: Santeri Viinamäki via Wikimedia Commons


Instagram has added an in-app feature that allows users to pay for a product from a brand or retailer on the app, erasing the struggle of leaving the social networking site to finish the transaction on a seller's website.

The photo and video-sharing social network will have a small cut from every transaction as it facilitates the sale and will also be partnering with PayPal in processing purchase payments. Recode says the idea for the new feature is fairly simple: "The fewer steps it takes to complete a purchase, the more likely people will complete the process.”

Ashley Yuki, an Instagram product executive, says the current number of steps in buying a product online is too complicated; users have to jump from apps like Instagram to a retailer's website to enter their payment information and type in their shipping details.

"I think people abandon [shopping] flows now. I know I do. You just kind of give up," she adds.

Recode says that is what Instagram aims to solve with the new checkout feature. Users will be able to store their credit card info and shipping address on the app, making purchases a lot easier with just a few taps and be done in less than a few minutes.

Instagram will also be taking a cut from every transaction in what it calls a "selling fee." It did not disclose how much it was going to take, but even a small amount would be able to add to the social network's business growth—an incentive since its parent company, Facebook, is seeing a slowdown on its own revenue.

Yuki confirms that any information collected during the transactions could be used to support Facebook's advertising business. However, it likely doesn't matter now since Instagram probably knows the kinds of products that users are buying based on its third-party data collection, which could be even simpler and possibly more valuable inside the Facebook app since it omits the need for a middle man.